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Surrogate named legal mother in donor egg case

A ruling from a Midwestern court could change the way child custody agreements are configured between adoptive mothers, surrogates and birth fathers. The decision, which came from Minnesota's regional neighbor Indiana, sets an important precedent by determining that the surrogate is considered the formal mother of a child when the egg donor is anonymous.

Luckily, the parents in this case have nothing to worry about. The surrogate mother already voluntarily surrendered custody to them shortly after the child was born. Other families could face child custody challenges if the surrogate mother contests the surrogacy contract, which is why the group decided to pursue the legal decision in the first place.

Official reports show that the surrogate assisted the adoptive couple by being implanted with an egg from an anonymous donor. That egg was fertilized by the husband's sperm. The woman then handed over the baby, at which point the couple attempted to remove the surrogate as a legal parent. Even though men are permitted to disestablish their paternity, women face difficulty in this particular aspect of the law. Currently, there is no way to disestablish maternity except through adoption, the route chosen by this family.

In this case, the adoptive mother will simply adopt as a step-parent, allowing the child's birth certificate to be changed accordingly. Still, attorneys and legal professionals in the area say they would like to see the issue addressed more directly through pertinent legal precedent. Conferring different rights on parents of different genders can be incredibly difficult in our modern age of technology-based reproduction. As more surrogacy custody cases come forward in our nation's court system, justices will face an increasingly difficult task in awarding paternity and maternity accordingly.

If you are facing difficulty with a custody dispute with a surrogate, consider seeking a qualified Minnesota family attorney. These professionals can help you learn more about your legal rights, allowing you to achieve the custody situation that is best for your family.

Source:, "Indiana appeals court says surrogate is legal mother" Samantha Paul, Jul. 15, 2013

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